Saturday, February 23, 2013

PlayStation Dreams

Sony unveiled the PS4 last week. Full of hope and promise the internet is abuzz with good cheer about the possibilities it entails. Frankly, I’m underwhelmed. Is the PS4 solid? Yes, it appears to be everything necessary to bring forward a new generation of games. Does it wow? No.

Friday, February 22, 2013

So Long, Farewell

1up and Gamespy closed yesterday. In their more than a decade span, each site has come to belong to the gold standard of excellence in video game journalism. They are the latest casualties in what is becoming an increasingly dismal video game horizon. Record profits or no, it has become crystal clear that the video game industry is undergoing a titanic upheaval. Studio after studio closing in 2012 can’t be pushed aside as nothing more than mismanagement or a shifting of game development focus. Large and small, studio after studio has fallen, and fallen hard. Long lauded as recession proof, video games have been given a one two punch of declining unit sales as well as a changing of the guard in how gamers wish to pay for content. Big publishers and small are turning to mobile, casual, and at times even handheld markets to create new revenue pathways with limited success. It’s not time to raise the white flag but the uncertainty of both publishers and developers will likely herald far less risk taking and innovation no matter the wishes of those involved. Like the countries they reside in, a downward turn in economics will result in a more conservative approach. Perhaps the next gen holds the key to new revenue streams, but more likely it will do little more than mask the prevailing problems. The video game industry is changing and quickly at that, what will rise up from the ashes may only be guessed at. Fare thee well 1up and Gamespy, you will be missed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Destiny’s Promise

Some things just bring a light to gamers’ eyes; a quality AAA title, a beautiful screenshot, a twinkle in a developers eyes as they talk about a new game. There are only a handful of developers who are trusted beyond reproach at a given time. Neither fate, nor the internet is kind and some will rise and some will fall. For now, for here, Halo creators’ Bungie is one of them.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Best of the Best V

This isn’t your parents Saturday morning cartoons. Japan might not have the best television shows but in one area of entertainment they have no peers. Japanese anime is now more popular than ever, but finding the diamonds among such a huge library of material can be daunting. This list isn’t every single great anime and as befitting my gender is slightly skewed toward action. However, not a single anime on this list won’t leave you wanting more and isn’t that the best compliment?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Surviving the Hype

Hype n.: Excessive publicity and the ensuing commotion

MMO’s have come along way from the golden younger years, but one thing that remains the same; hype. No game can completely counter the hype, nor should they. Hype is necessary to generate excitement for the new and the unknown. Every game needs a little hype to survive especially as the market becomes more competitive with every passing moment.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Frame of War II

(An Intermediate Guide to Warframe)

Warframe is a game that begs the quote ‘Easy to play, Tough to Master’. Here are some helpful tips on the road to advanced play.

1.       Revives are tied to a particular Frame not the player account. Plan accordingly.
2.       Reviving a downed player with multiple players shortens the revive time.
3.       You carry two weapons; don’t be afraid to switch them. Reloads, fast/slow enemies, mission type can all dictate changing weapons on the fly.
4.       Shoot the camera/auto turrets on sight, they provide decent experience and can make the energy jails a major threat instead of a minor nuisance.
5.       Flashy Ninja moves keep you from getting hit, which gives you bigger bonuses and can be the difference between victory or eating dirt.
6.       Choose weapons that feel comfortable to your play style and keep them until level 30. Not only will changing weapons frequently slow your leveling process it is less necessary than it might seem.
7.       Do Alerts, rare things drop there.
8.       Team up when possible, solo when ranking new Warframes. Until you become an advanced player, leveling is easier with friends.
9.       Higher numbers are always better, keep an eye on stats. However, as always what is comfortable will likely be your best bet.
10.   When you find something that works, keep at it.
11.   While on a team you can join locked missions.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Frame of War

The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do. – Jack Sparrow

I’ve been playing a MMO called Warframe of late. The game is named after a secret World War II era plan by Boeing to build Exoskeletons for the military. Since soldiers aren’t wearing suits of armor, it can be deduced that the technology simply wasn’t there. Besides the movies, no one has figured out a way to get through the various barriers of software, hardware, and power. It’s ironic but Iron Man is a fairly good thesis on how hard it would be to get a suit of armor working.

Warframe is the brain child of Digital Extremes, the makers of a concept video for Xbox 360 that went on to become Dark Sector. The concept video was the first Xbox 360 game announced. However, with the launch and then success of the Call of Duty franchise, plans were changed. A decade later, that little remembered concept video has been born anew into an entirely new game. Part Mass Effect, part Halo, part Splinter Cell; Warframe is a little game punching way above its weight class.

I can’t say what the future holds, perhaps Warframe fails miserably or perhaps it succeeds past the companies wildest dreams. But whatever the future holds, Warframe is proof of a far simpler idea. Digital Extremes had a dream. Life caused that dream to have to be put on hold for a while, but here they are again. Bit by bit, they are building it anew from the ashes of an old memory. It’s a lesson to take to heart.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Center of the Universe

Centuries ago the leading minds of Earth believed that the Sun revolved around the Earth and that the world was flat; they couldn’t conceive the world as anything other than what they knew to be true. We scoff at them now, dismiss them as little more than barbarians for their customs and beliefs. It is of interest because although our science is better, we haven’t changed much from our forebears. We don’t believe aliens exist; we scoff at the idea of space travel, time travel, or any number of theoretical sciences beyond our understanding. At the end of the day, underneath it all, is the same belief covering our eyes as those of our ancestors; we still believe that we are at the center of the universe.